Writing in the Guardian, Alok Jha gives an excellent review on the problems with academic publishers producing content that is behind a pay wall. Sir Mark Walport, director of the Wellcome trust is quoted as supporting free open access publishing for research funded by charitable bodies. The logic behind the strategy is simple. Why should a charity fund research that cannot be read by the doctors or students practising in this area. Sir Mark makes a pointed analogy to the 6 month “paid before free” model.
Frankly, it’s a bit like saying you can have the Guardian free after three weeks – the news section has little value at that stage. I would say that even six months is ultimately too long for research
One of our contributors gives their opinion as follows.
Being part of the peer review process for an academic journal is a prestigious position. There is a big but. I, and other researchers do this job essentially ‘for free’. One of the points being made by the Wellcome Trust is that journals are essentially making money out of having what would otherwise be a very expensive process. I wonder if they are saying: why should we fund researchers to perform the peer review process for you to publish articles that students can’t see?”
Another contributor, who has graduated in the last five years has a different perspective.
So my own institutions access policy was great. The amount it cost the university is not publicly available right? SO if it is the £1 000 000 that is quoted, then that equates to the fee’s of over 100 students just for the subscription to the journals. The biggest problem is that now I’ve graduated, I can’t actually access any of the journals I looked at on-line, because my NHS Trust library doesn’t subscribe to them!
What do you think?